Trinidad & Tobago Travel Guide

Trinidad & Tobago FlagTrinidad & Tobago is a two island nation in the southeastern part of the Caribbean. Even though the islands are very much about of the Caribbean both culturally and politically, they are geographically more related to South America. In fact, the western part of Trinidad is only 5-8 miles from South America. While the islands of the Leeward and Windward islands are spaced 20-30 miles apart, Trinidad & Tobago are 80 miles south of Grenada. Another difference from the other Caribbean islands is how much bigger Trinidad is. Plus it has significantly more natural resources and does not rely on tourism. Although this is not true for Tobago, most of the tourist trade come from Trinidad.

The islands were first inhabited by Amerindian people from South American. Starting in the 1530’s the Spanish fought the natives until the chief, Wannawanare, finally granted the area around St Josephs to the Spanish in 1592 and moved to another part of Trinidad. Under Spanish rule, many slaves were imported to work on cocoa plantations in Trinidad, but when the British seized the island in 1798 slavery was abolished. To make up for the shortage of labor the British Empire encouraged heavy immigration from India with promises of land grants, thus the large Indian population.

Helpful Info
Population – 1,353,900 (Trinidad 1,293,000 & Tobago 60,900)
Money – Trinidad & Tobago dollar (as of Aug 2018 US$1 = TT$6.73; current rate available at XE.com)
Language – English
Religion – 55.3% Christian, 18.2% Hindu, 5% Muslim
When to go – Dec-June is most popular. Summer is nice also, but a little hotter and more humid. Hurricanes most active Aug-Oct.
World Heritage Sites – 0 – None
Country formed – Ceded to UK in 1802 (Trinidad by Spain) and 1814 (Tobago by France). Gained independence from UK on 31 Aug 1962

During this time Tobago’s history was separate from Trinidad and changed hands between the European Empires 33 times (more than any other Caribbean island). Tobago was ceded to the British with the Treaty of Paris in 1814, but it was not until after the sugar plantations collapsed that Tobago was united with Trinidad in 1889. Together Trinidad & Tobago became an independent country on August 31, 1962. The country prospered due to large deposits of oil and natural gas and has become the wealthiest nation in the Caribbean.

My Visit

I spent several weeks in Trinidad & Tobago in the summer of 2018 while cruising around with a buddy. I even had a family of three come aboard for a couple weeks to explore with us. I am also planning on returning in February 2020 to participate in Carnival (considered the 2nd best in the world) and continue exploring both islands. I do have space available during this time ;).

Likes, Dislikes, and Recommendations

Both Trinidad & Tobago are loaded with nature and there is a wide variety to chose from. This includes beaches, reefs, rain forest, mountains, swamps, tar pits, and more. The other thing I really liked about Trinidad & Tobago is how culturally diverse and accepting it is with black, Indian (known locally as East Indian), white, Christian, Hindu, and Muslim all coexisting. Given how much the economy does not rely on tourism it is much easier to get the local flavor than other islands.

My biggest complaint about Trinidad & Tobago is how few anchorages there are for such large islands. I would say each island has 3 (maybe 4) good anchorages and 2-3 more on the north shores that are passable in good weather.

I can not stress enough that you really must met Jessie James (taxi & tour guide) and take his Taste of Trini tour (expect to eat more than you thought possible 🙂 ). Jessie James can set up other tours for you, as I do not recommend driving in Trinidad until you are comfortable with the directions and driving style. On Tobago renting a car is the perfect idea to get around and see the island.

There are many wonderful places you should see, but my favorites are the abandoned leper colony, the underground lake, Asa Wright Nature Center, and Argyle Waterfall. You can read about even more places to see and get helpful hints by reading my Trinidad & Tobago blog posts below and soon I will be making travel videos for both Trinidad and Tobago.

All Blogs From Trinidad & Tobago

Podcast #8 - Blue water sailing & Trinidad

Blue water experience from two newbies plus a look at Trinidad on this podcast

By | Caribbean, Grenada, Offshore, Podcasts, Trinidad & Tobago | No Comments

I have Greg and Susan talking about their first experience with blue water sailing, which they did with me as we sailed overnight from Trinidad to Grenada. They are very…

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